There are many factors that can help you get better grades, but there is one key that is greater than all the others. That key is your ability to pay attention IN CLASS.
You see, there is nothing more important to your academic success than your ability to focus on what your teacher is explaining in class. In this article I am going to clarify why your ability to focus is so important. I am also going to offer you some tips that can help you easily pay more attention in class.
Before we go any further, I want you to understand how beneficial it is to improve your ability to focus in class. Here are the benefits:
- You will get better grades. (Grades do matter. Good grades open doors for you to achieve your dreams, whether it is being a pro athlete, becoming a doctor or getting into the college of your choice.)
- You will find it much easier to study for tests.
- You will feel less stressed about your schoolwork.
- You will have more free time for fun activities.
Now doesn’t that sound good?
If there are so many benefits to paying attention in class, why don’t more teenagers do it? The main reason is that there are lots of distractions in a teen’s life. Let’s take a look at some of the most common distractions:
- You are focused on your smartphone or tablet.
- You have too much mental chatter going on.
- You are tired.
- You are hungry.
- You are too cold or hot.
- You are thinking about a boy or a girl.
- You have issues going on at home.
- You are angry or sad.
- Your attention is being pulled away by what other people are doing or saying in class.
It is clear there are lots of distractions around you, but the good news is that there are ways you can manage the distractions and be able to better pay attention in class. Here are some tips you can try:
- Get a good night’s sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain doesn’t function as well as it could. You will have difficulty remembering information and your mind will be “fuzzy’ or “cloudy”. When you get plenty of rest, you will feel refreshed and your mind will be more capable of absorbing new information.
- Eat a healthy breakfast. There is nothing that can pull your attention away like an empty stomach. If you are hungry, your body will keep reminding you that you are starving and you will find it difficult to focus on anything other than wanting to get something to eat. By eating a good breakfast every morning, you will give your body the nourishment it needs to let your mind focus on schoolwork.
- Wear layered clothes. Like being hungry, it is hard to concentrate on learning when you are physically uncomfortable. Make sure you bring an assortment of clothes with you to each class. This will help you regulate your ideal temperature for learning. If you get hot, take off your jacket. If you get cold, you can put on a sweatshirt. Schoolrooms tend not to be the same temperature. By preparing in advance, you will not be affected by the differing temperatures and you can self-regulate your “Ideal Learning Temperature”.
Now that we talked about ways you can manage the physical distractions, let’s talk about how to train your mind to avoid mental distractions.
- Compartmentalize your thoughts. Teenagers have a lot going on in their lives. There can be a lot of drama that can occupy much of your mind’s focus. One of the best ways to pay attention in class is to compartmentalize your thoughts and emotions. When you compartmentalize your thoughts and emotions, you put all your drama and other thoughts into a holding area in your mind. Imagine having a shoebox in your mind and when you enter your classroom, you put everything that has been on your mind into the shoebox and close the lid. During the class, you never open the shoebox. By doing this, your mental energy will be focused on what is going on in the classroom and not anything else. And when the bell rings, you can open the shoebox in your mind and release all the thoughts that were in there.
- Deep Breathing Exercises. Another way you can clear your mind is by doing deep breathing exercises. You can do this before you enter the classroom or you can do it silently while your teacher is taking attendance. The simple act of breathing in and out fully and deeply can slow down your mental chatter and allow you to be able to focus. Experiment with this technique and see how powerful it can be.
Now let’s talk about some classroom strategies that can help you excel in your schoolwork. These strategies are just as important as being able to pay attention in class. Here are some tips for you to remember:
- Pay extra attention when your teacher gives you a cue. Most teachers will give you a cue or a “heads-up” when they are going to share something that will be on your test. They might say things like “this is important” or “listen up”. Let that be your signal to become fully focused on what they are about to say. It will help you easily get better scores on your tests.
- Take notes during class. As much as you think you will remember what you are hearing at the time, once you leave the classroom and get distracted again, your mind will forget some of what you learned. But by having notes, it will trigger your mind to remember and you will be able to recall the concepts quicker and easier. This will save a lot of time later when you are doing your homework or studying for a test. And since your schoolwork won’t take as long as it used to, you will have more free time to do more fun things!
- Ask questions during class. By asking questions, your mind will automatically be more engaged in the teacher’s lesson. It will help you form a memory of the information from the class. There is another benefit to this also. Asking questions can improve your grade by getting extra credit for participating in class.
- Change your seating. Where you sit in class can make a big difference on your ability to focus. If you sit at the front of the class, you are much less likely to be distracted by the other children. Also avoid sitting next to your friends. If you sit near your friends, you will be too tempted to carry on your conversations from before class and will not be able to pay attention to the teacher.
I hope you enjoyed this article and are excited about trying out some of these tips. They can make a big difference for you. And one last thing, the more you are able to increase your ability to focus, the more successful you will be in life. Take some time now and learn this valuable skill, it will open doors to you that you never even imagined!
About the Author: Michael TARBY, Monthly Mentor, is a life change expert and author of the best-selling book Living Your Big Juicy Life, The Secrets to Having More Love, Joy and Success. His varied background allows him to resonate with people from all walks of life. He has been everything from a police officer to an actor. In college, he was the class president and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and is also Board Certified in Radiography. Michael has dedicated his life to helping others learn from his successes and many failures. He has spoken all across the country and received standing ovations from large and small audiences. Read More…